Super Bowl ad vets confident

http://www.suntimes.com/output/lazare/lew24.html

BY LEWIS LAZARE

When you watch the Super Bowl commercials on Sunday, you should know DDB Chicago creative honchos Craig Feigen, Adam Glickman and Greg Popp hope their Budweiser spot will have “talk value.”

In advertising parlance, talk value is the buzz a memorable commercial generates. If you’re in the ad biz, the Super Bowl and the high-profile commercials that air really boil down to just one thing: talk value.

The principal DDB ad in the running for this year’s Super Bowl is still under tight wraps, but this much we know about it: “It will have grandeur and sweep, lots of humor and feature just one animal,” promises Popp, who is confident the spot will make it onto the air.

Anheuser-Busch executives are expected to decide today which of 20 or more spots under consideration will be included in the beer company’s four minutes of Super Bowl commercial time.

Working as a team on Super Bowl advertising for nearly a decade, “the Bud Boys” have learned a few tricks of the Super Bowl ad trade. “If you want a spot to connect with the television audience and be remembered, we’ve found animals and kids give you the best shot,” said Feigen.

For the past two years running, copywriter Feigen, art director Glickman and producer Popp have been at the top of the advertising heap when it comes to talk value.

In 1999, their “Separated at Birth” spot, and their “Rex” spot in 2000, both for Budweiser, ranked first in USA Today’s annual consumer poll of favorite Super Bowl commercials.

“Separated,” you may remember, was a heartwarming and very funny commercial about two Dalmatian puppies. One becomes the mascot at a firehouse, and as the commercial builds to its sweet ending, we discover his underdog brother has landed a plum post riding with Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales team.

“Rex” is about another underdog of sorts. This time a Hollywood movie director is in danger of losing his job if he doesn’t make the pooch in the picture he’s filming cry on cue. In a mere 60 seconds the Bud Boys deliver the requisite happy ending.

But perhaps the grandest and most unforgettable of the spots the trio has created for Budweiser came early in their work for the flagship brand. Called “Clydesdale Football,” it aired on the 1995 Super Bowl shortly after DDB Chicago signed on to work on Budweiser.

Shot on location in Idaho, the 60-second commercial depicts two teams of horses playing football and zeroes in on one team’s dramatic attempt to kick a field goal over a telephone wire.

It took two months of horse training just to prepare the Clydesdales to go through their paces of pretending to be football players. And then six days to actually film the spot, more than double the time usually committed to shooting even the most elaborate spots.

The Bud Boys admit AB executives weren’t immediately convinced the football spot would be worth the huge financial risk. But AB gave them the go-ahead, and no one is regretting that decision today. “Any client that embraces risk has a better chance of finding success,” said Glickman.

Happy birthday: One year old this month, the Silverman/LaCorte Group has been retained as publicity counsel for the Chicago Association for the Performing Arts, which manages and books the Chicago Theatre.

Other Silverman/LaCorte clients include the Noble Fool comedy theater, the Three Arts Club and Pegasus Players.